I love this Minestrone Soup from Jamie Oliver’s Venice Food Escapes, but have historically I’ve always hated minestrone soup. Maybe I’ve just had bad minestrone as a kid, you know, the commercialized Campbell’s soup variety with an acidic tomato paste taste. I wasn’t even willing to give this soup another chance, until I got hooked on watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes.
This is one of my favourite cooking series of all time. Jamie travels around Europe, cooking amazing food, in the midst of amazing cultures. In Venice, he went to a women’s prison where the prisoners grow their own produce in a prison garden. He proceeded to raid their veggie garden so he could cook this soup for the inmates.
It was inspiring seeing the fresh garden veggies go from garden to pot to plate, you forgot you were in a prison. There are a only few things that aren’t readily available in my fridge or garden that Jamie uses in his recipe. Zucchini flowers, radicchio, a boney end of a prosciutto, and home made pesto. I love home made pesto, but be careful not to overpower the soup, and don’t use store bought pesto, for your sake.
Every great soup starts with a great stock. Use a homemade stock, easy to make in advance and can even freeze it until you are ready to use it.
Minestrone Soup from Jamie Oliver’s Venice Food Escapes is a flexible soup, in that you can use whatever vegetables you have in season in your garden, or at your local market. There isn’t really a right or wrong vegetable. At the end of the day, this Italian Minestrone is just a vegetable soup with rice or pasta. Simple and delicious. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 medium carrots sliced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed and sliced
- 3 stalks of celery sliced
- 1 cup of chopped bacon*
- 1 cup of green beans sliced
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 4 tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup of peas
- ¼ finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- beetroot leaves from 4 beets, roughly chopped
- stems from 4 beetroot leaves - chopped into bite sized pieces
- 4 litres of soup stock
- 1 cup of orzo pasta
- grated parmesan cheese
- generous handful roughly basil leaves, roughly chopped
- * instead of bacon, I used the ham pieces from my stock recipe. Feel free to add the meat of your choice, the bacon adds depth and slight smokiness to the minestrone.
- Heat oil in a large stockpot on high. Add the onions carrots and garlic. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes.
- Add the bacon and celery and cook for 5 minutes. The onion should start to soften and caramelize.
- Add the beans, zucchini, tomatoes, peas and parsley and beetroot stems and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Pour the soup stock in the pot and add the orzo pasta. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the beetroot leaves and basil and stir.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with grated parmesan and garnish with fresh basil and home made pesto.